ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Democratic state representative from Duluth has been asked to abandon his re-election campaign following reports that he engaged in oral sex with a teenage boy at a highway rest stop.
According to investigative reports, Rep. Kerry Gauthier, 56, admitted to meeting an unnamed 17-year-old for consensual oral sex at a Duluth-area rest stop — the teen told detectives that he considered Gauthier a stranger, and admitted that he had told Gauthier he was 18-years-old.
The Democratic House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said Monday that he has asked Gauthier to resign from Minnesota state legislature.
“As I shared with Rep. Gauthier, I believe he should withdraw from the race for re-election,” said Thissen, in a statement.
“I am deeply disappointed with Rep. Kerry Gauthier’s conduct that has been reported over the last several days,” he said. “The conduct was wrong and no one in the DFL House Caucus condones the behavior.”
Other party leaders have also expressed their beliefs that Gauthier should go.
“The situation involving Kerry Gauthier is deeply unfortunate, both for Gauthier’s constituents and for our party,” said DFL Party Chair Ken Martin, in a statement. “His actions are inexcusable. No one in our party condones what he did, nor will we defend him in this matter.”
A spokesperson for St. Louis County attorney’s office told LGBTQ Nation that prosecutors have determined no crime had been committed in the rest stop incident.
The spokesperson also said that the office agreed with a Duluth Police Department conclusion that charges weren’t warranted against Gauthier for the incident involving the lawmaker and the 17-year-old because no state laws had been broken.
Gauthier, a first-term legislator, is unmarried, and has made no public comments about the incident. He did not respond to an email from LGBTQ Nation on Monday seeking comment. He reportedly met the teen on Craigslist.
Duluth City Councilor Jay Fosle filed paperwork on Friday to run as a write-in candidate against Gauthier and Republican Travis Silver.
According to Minnesota elections officials, it is too late for Gauthier’s name to be removed from the ballot.